10 October 2014
A team of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) dental personnel is heading to New Zealand’s Far North to test its skills in conducting dentistry in the field.
The team, including several Northland locals, is working with Northland District Health Board (NDHB) to provide treatment and a health promotion programme in Kaitaia for two weeks from October 13.
Supported by the Ministry of Health, Exercise Wisdom Tooth is the result of extensive planning to enable NZDF to train in preparation for its next Pacific mission.
The dental treatment will be provided to approximately 300 adults who hold a community service card and the health programme will be held at several schools around the Northland region.
“Exercise Wisdom Tooth is an opportunity for dental personnel to exercise field dental treatment in preparation for any overseas military operation or exercise,” said Major Suzanne Halligan.
The NZDF works with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide regular aid missions in the Western Pacific Region. Health related services are provided including dental services. In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on education, training and prevention.
The treatment will take place in Kaitaia Hospital using NZDF equipment including five dental chairs and two additional chairs provided by NDHB.
“Working alongside NDHB is invaluable for increasing our ability to mix with the local community when providing support,” said Maj Halligan.
The interaction between the two organisations is echoed by NDHB.
“NDH welcomes the opportunity to work with NZDF to increase awareness of the importance of good dental health, nutrition and physical activity especially amongst our young people,” said Jeanette Wedding, General Manager Child, Youth, Maternal and Oral Health.
The schools taking part of the healthy lifestyles programme are; Te Kura Kaupapa O Pukemiro, Whangaroa College, Taipa Area School, Broadwood Area School, Abundant Life School, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa /Te Hapua School and Kaitaia College.